How a Chiropractor Can Treat Common Rib Injuries

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Rib injuries are a common occurrence that can result from automobile accidents, playing sports, falling from ladders, or basic physical trauma. The condition is usually accompanied by pain, discomfort and inflammation in the chest. Depending on the severity of the situation, a rib injury can make it painful for the individual to breathe or laugh. The good news is that a professional chiropractor can offer relief by treating the condition with a manual adjustment.

It’s important to note that there are several different types of rib injuries. Just because you feel pain and tenderness in your chest doesn’t mean you have a broken or fractured rib. So, what are the different types of rib injuries? The most common is a bruised rib, which occurs when blunt force trauma is placed on the chest. The bone structure of the rib remains intact, but the surrounding tissue is inflamed and swollen from the impact. Bruised ribs usually heal on their own in about 4-6 weeks, but you can help speed up the process with an on-and-off ice pack application and by taking a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID).

A second type of rib injury is known as a separated rib. This occurs when enough blunt force trauma is exerted on the rib to separate it from the breastbone. Normally, the ribs are connected to breastbone with tough cartilage that holds it in place. When the cartilage is broken, however, the rib separates from the breastbone. A separated rib feels quite similar to a fractured or bruised rib. The individual may hear a “popping” sound, and they may experience a general feeling of pain and discomfort around the affected region.

The third type of rib injury, fractures, are the most serious and medically concerning. Fractured ribs are characterized by the bone literally breaking apart. Individuals suffering from fractured ribs tend to experience more pain than a typical bruised or separated rib. In some cases, the condition can pose a serious threat to nearby organs, which is why it’s critical that you have x-rays taken to determine extent of the damage.

A professional chiropractor will feel around your rib bones to see where the injury is and how to treat it. As they gain a better understanding of your current rib injury, they will also talk with you to determine how much pain and discomfort you are feeling. Using this information, the chiropractor will then choose a course of treatment based on your condition. Separated ribs can oftentimes be popped back into place through a manual adjustments. Other times, however, the best course of action is rest and relaxation.

Whether you have a bruised, separated or fractured rib, the single most important thing you can do is rest. For sports athletes, resting probably isn’t welcomed news, but it’s necessary to give your body time to recover from the injury. Talk with your chiropractor to determine how must rest is necessary before getting back on the field. Most injuries require a solid 4-6 weeks, but more severe ones may take longer to heal.

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